Over the last year I’ve lost four stone in weight (though given that the boy and I demolished three chocolate reindeers over the weekend it’s a little less than that now). I’ve cut my body mass index (BMI) from a gut-busting 36 or thereabouts to 27. I have another stone and a half before I manage to get to below the magic 25 and are no longer considered overweight. So, a way to go yet: but a lot better than it was. And frankly, if I can do it – I’ve been fat all my life, I was even a massive baby – then so can you.
What’s important is that you don’t focus on the deprivation but the positive aspect because the benefits of being less porky are manifold. I’m wearing clothes I last fitted into before I had the boy (just as well I’m not a slave to fashion). Indeed, many are too big. The lingering backache I had has gone. My knees, while still a bit dodgy, are much better – I just wish I’d lost all this weight years ago before the damage was done to them. I can walk faster and longer. Hell, I’ve even started swimming in a public pool. I’m hardly a bathing beauty but am less of a self-conscious whale.
There wasn’t any magic involved in my weight loss. I go to Slimming World in the local church hall once a week to be weighed. It’s this accountability, this monitoring that works: once a week I have to face up to my weight problem and do something about it. I don’t always lose weight - I put on a pound at the last weigh in (see previous mention of chocolate reindeer) – and I’ve been roughly at the 4 stone loss level for ages now. But the overall trend is downwards and after Christmas I’ll be focused again. There have been changes to my eating – lots more vegetables, lean protein, limited bread, no alcohol or cheese – but I do have lapses and no doubt Christmas will mean an uptick on the scales. But now I know what works I can carry on, while relaxing it a little over the festive season.
While there is a cost in all this – Slimming World costs just under a fiver a week – there are financial benefits on top of the saving money on clothes. If I wanted to buy life insurance, I would now pay less than pre-weight loss. You can check how you’d be affected with this calculator. Then there’s the health aspect of obesity: diabetes, cancer, heart problems, the lot as well as reduced life expectancy.
The Office for National Statistics says that currently, male life expectancy at birth is 79.2 years and female, 82.9 years. However, before you think that a long life is a great life, the same report says that healthy life expectancy at birth is 63.1 years for baby boys born now and 63.6 years for girls. That means baby girls born now can look forward to nearly 20 years of ill health when they are elderly – which is a horrible thought. I’ve no idea what the figures are for women of my age but the idea that I could spend my old age shuffling between hospital appointments is enough impetus for me to carry on sloughing off the weight. By next Christmas I hope in body shape terms at least I appear more like the Grinch than Santa.
And on that note, have a fabulous Christmas. We’re taking a break and will be back early in the New Year.
See our guide to life insurance here
Check your BMI here